History of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

acupuncture chart of the xin bao luoHistory of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

There’s a new blog post on Dr. Andrew Weil’s website with a slideshow of photos from the many exhibits at the Shanghai museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The exhibits document the truly ancient and evolving nature of Chinese Medicine.

An excerpt is here…..

“In September of 2010, I went to China to meet with leaders of the integrative medicine movement there. I lectured to doctors and medical students, and toured the Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine at the Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It contains an astonishing 14,000 exhibits, including medical devices dating back to the Neolithic Age. Fascinating to see this long, unbroken history of a culture’s medical knowledge and practices.”

The photos show the classic (and mostly obsolete) “nine needles” as well as truly brutal looking neolithic stone and bone acupuncture needles that no one would even consider using these days. We should be truly grateful that we live in modern times.

The primitive society of China is divided into two time periods – The Old Stone Age (10,000 years ago and beyond) and the New Stone Age (10,000 – 4000 years ago). During the Old Stone Age knives were made of stone and were used for certain medical procedures. During the New Stone Age, stones were crafted into fine needles and served as instruments of healing. Many stone needles and needles made from bamboo and bone have been excavated from ruins in China. The most significant milestone in the history of acupuncture occurred during the period of Huang Di, the Yellow Emperor (approximately 2697-2597?). In a famous dialogue between Huang Di and his physician Qi Bo, they discuss the whole spectrum of Chinese Medical Arts.

The intervening thousands of years have allowed acupuncture (and tool manufacturing) to evolve to the sophisticated and virtually pain-free system we have available to us today.

Thanks to Dr. Weil for sharing his great photos!

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